There was jubilation in the world of insect respiratory conditions last night when a trainee forklift truck driver from Whitechapel announced to the General Medical Council that he had found a cure for tuberculosis in Colorado potato beetles.
TB has blighted the beetle population in recent years, with around a dozen reported deaths since 2003. Scientists have blamed the indiscriminate use of insecticides by potato farmers and a virulent outbreak of TB which has resulted in vast numbers of the tiny creatures being confined to sanatoriums where they are given a diet of eggs and milk and told to get plenty of fresh air.
Now, Toby Dell, 47 and a father of 7, has made the medical breakthrough that will hopefully lead to the complete eradication of the disease and a resurgence of the Colorado beetle population worldwide.
In an address to The World Health Organisation, Dell said: “I discovered the cure when I knocked over a tub of jellied eels in the kitchen.
“Before I could scrape it off the worktop, a Colorado beetle came scuttling over and started eating it using his pincers.
“He obviously had TB because he kept coughing into a white handkerchief, a bit like Doc Holiday out of Tombstone.
“A few days later, I spotted that same beetle in the downstairs toilet and he was completely cured. There was no coughing, nothing.
“I don’t mind admitting that I broke down and blubbed shamelessly”
This is the 2nd major medical breakthrough this month and follows on from the discovery by a plasterer from Bromley By Bow that small pieces of mince and onion pie can cure chronic premature ejaculation in money spiders.